The Sum and Substance of All Theology

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    I found this sermon by Spurgeon on the web and enjoyed it immensely. Although every word of it is worth reading, I thought this particular point was particularly worth quoting, since it deals with what I believe is the source of the free-will argument: pride.

    Here's the URL:

    The Sum and Substance of All Theology

     
  2. swaimj

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    I humbly disagree with Mr. Spurgeon. [​IMG]
     
  3. dttw_aic

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    I agree with the first point that is made. To say that man is responsible for his salvation is to take glory away from God. Man is not responsible for his own salvation, nor is it contingent, God is. In Turn only God can recieve the glory.

    From this, Mr. Spurgeon draws the conclusion that the idea of free will takes the glory away from God. There, however, is no basis for this conclusion. This conclusion can only be drawn if the presuposition is accepted that free-will says that man is responsible for his own salvation, that by choosing to follow God they must be saved. This, however, is not the case.

    There are two views of salvation, from the view of free-will. First is the belief that if a man chooses to seek God, God must grant him grace. I would agree that this view is indead wrong, and does take away from the glory of God. This is a view I do not hold.

    The second view, which is the one I hold, says that man, while fallen, still has the ability to seek God. If man chooses to do so, God has the choice of wheather or not to give him grace. We know that he will because he has said he would, but this giving of grace is not contingent on the choice of man, but is instead contingent on the choice of God. If God so chose to, he could refuse grace to even those whose choose to seek him. Thankfully he will not.

    This view, however, would be impossible if the view of total depravity is true. While I agree that the Bible teaches that man is fallen, that he is sinnful, and that he is condemed to eternal death in the lake of fire, I have yet to come across a single verse that has even given rise to the notion that man cannot seek God. If there are verses that do so, I would be greatful for the information so I may better know my Lord through the truth of his word.
     
  4. Primitive Baptist

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    Arminians: Is it the death of Christ or our response to it that ultimately saves us?
     
  5. npetreley

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    This is doublespeak, and directly contradicts scripture. If a man cannot be saved unless he, of his own free will, seeks God, then salvation is contingent upon the man's seeking. It cannot depend upon God's choosing whether to save those who seek Him, because Jesus guarantees that "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    Jesus says, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    The latter part of the statement GUARANTEES that God will save those who come to Him. Given that it is impossible for God to lie, then God has no choice but to save those who come to him. So salvation is not - as you suggest - contingent upon whether or not God chooses to save those who "decide of their own free will" to seek Him. There is no contingency involved.

    The only question left open is: "Who comes to God and why?" The answer is given in no uncertain terms in the former part of what Jesus says. All that the Father gives Jesus will come to Him.

    That leaves you with only two options - election or universal salvation.
     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    If Arminians can show where in the Old Testament is there a covenant between God and man as to man's salvation which covenant was struct in eternity before creation, then, perhaps, we who hold to the Doctrines of Grace will recant !
     
  7. massdak

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    and you need to include the apostle paul that you disagree with also
     
  8. Doubting Thomas

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    and you need to include the apostle paul that you disagree with also </font>[/QUOTE]Or, rather, the Calvinistic misinterpretation of the apostle Paul. :D
     
  9. dttw_aic

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    quote:
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    quote:
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    The second view, which is the one I hold, says that man, while fallen, still has the ability to seek God. If man chooses to do so, God has the choice of wheather or not to give him grace. We know that he will because he has said he would, but this giving of grace is not contingent on the choice of man, but is instead contingent on the choice of God.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is doublespeak, and directly contradicts scripture. If a man cannot be saved unless he, of his own free will, seeks God, then salvation is contingent upon the man's seeking. It cannot depend upon God's choosing whether to save those who seek Him, because Jesus guarantees that "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    Jesus says, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    The latter part of the statement GUARANTEES that God will save those who come to Him. Given that it is impossible for God to lie, then God has no choice but to save those who come to him. So salvation is not - as you suggest - contingent upon whether or not God chooses to save those who "decide of their own free will" to seek Him. There is no contingency involved.

    The only question left open is: "Who comes to God and why?" The answer is given in no uncertain terms in the former part of what Jesus says. All that the Father gives Jesus will come to Him.

    That leaves you with only two options - election or universal salvation.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." This is a choice that God made. He did not have to make this choice, and, considering that God is completly sovereign, he can choose to take this promise back. It is only because he does not want to that he does not. God is never forced to do anything. It is true that it is against God's nature to lie, or take back a promise, but I ask you this: how can God be completely sovereign if he does not have controle over his own nature. To say otherwise would be to take away from the sovereignty of God. It is God's choice, however, not to change his nature. This we can trust in.

    The argument you make in the latter part of your post is based on a false premis, which is that the first half of this verse, John 6:37 (All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.),is refering to the elect. There is no reason, however, to believe that the two parts of the verse refer to the same thing. The conjuction "and" simply means that the two ideas voiced in this sentance must have at least one thing in common. That one thing is Jesus. It is often asummed that both parts are refering to the elect because the words in the two parts are very simular. Both refer to something that will some to Christ, and since the latter specificaly mentions that it is refering to humans, then both must be doing so. This however, is not necessarily the case.

    It is important to consider that the words "come" and "comes" are from two different greek words, with different meanings. The first is hēkō which means to arive, while the other is erchomai which means the process of coming or traveling. If the all that shall come and him who cometh are the same then their coming would be in the same manner, but they are not. It is clear that Jesus is talking about two different things.

    Remember that in this verse Jesus is speaking to a crowd which has come to him but does not believe in him(John 6:24-36). It is my belief that this verse is a refernce to this. Jesus is saying that everything, don't forget that God gave his son everything (John 3:35), will come to him, he then changes the word used for "come" to indicate a differnt kind of coming, that is required of those who will be permited into the kingdom of heaven. In other words, just because the crowd came physicaly to Jesus doesn't mean that they will be permited into the kingdom of God, they must instead come to him on a completely different level.

    In conclusion, I am not left with these incorrect views, calvinistic election and universal salvation. I am instead left with a view of free-will.
     
  10. dttw_aic

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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by pinoybaptist
    :
    If Arminians can show where in the Old Testament is there a covenant between God and man as to man's salvation which covenant was struct in eternity before creation, then, perhaps, we who hold to the Doctrines of Grace will recant !
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am not completely sure what it is you are trying to get across here, and perhapse you could clearify that, but I would like to point out that I am not an arminian. I disagree with some of there docterines as much as I do with calvinists'.

    As for docterines of grace, I feel this is a bad turm to use for the docterines of predestination and other docterines calvinistic in nature. To do so implies that other docterines do not hld to grace, which is completely false. I believe in grace, and understand that it was the grace of God, and not the works of man, by which I recieved pardon from my sins, enterence into the kingdom of God, and eternal life with Jesus our Lord. but I still believe in free will.
     
  11. Dan Todd

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    Let me give an illustration!

    If I were to offer a general invitation to my parents to come to dinner tonight at my house - my dad would not show up. Reason - he died in January 2002. Dead people don't do stuff!

    Eph 2:1-10

    1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
    2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
    3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
    6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
    7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


    John 6:37 - All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

    The first phrase is God's sovereignty in election at work.

    The second phrase is deals with two types of people:
    1. Those whom God chose (by His sovereign will) to salvation - and when they are quickened - they respond to Christ.
    2. Those who are dead - and I repeat - dead people don't do stuff!

    No one will ever come to the Savior unless they are first drawn to Him by God.
     
  12. dttw_aic

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    There is a problem with your analogy. You assume that spiritual death is the same as physical death, in which the individual can do absolutly nothing. The fact that the verses you mentioned lists several things that were done in death shows that man is able to do things in death. It is not possible to equate aspiritual death with a physical death. In fact every time Jesus described spiritual death in a parable. it was done using the living. For example the prodigal son.

    In order to understand spiritual death we must look to the analogies that Christ himself made, and not to our own understanding. The parable of the prodigal son is a story of how man is dead in sin and how hw comes to God his father. We know that this is an example of death because Luke 15:24 "for this my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry." The interesting thing about this parable is that the father did not go and get his lost son. In fact, the fact that he saw him at a great distance (Luke 15:20) seems to indicate that the father was waiting for him to return.

    It wasn't untill the son decided to go to the father as a servant, that the father had compassion on him and ran to meet him (Luke 15:18-20) The father could have rejected him, but he chose not to. It wasn't the son's choice that brought him into the household, it was the fathers. Through this parrable we can see the true nature of spiritual death. While in death we can seek God, but cannot be saved by God unless he has compassion on us.

    We must read and understand Ephesians 2 through the light of this truth.

    Ephesians 2:1-

    (Eph 2:1) And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins,

    --We were once dead in sin, but God made us alive. Considering what the prodigal son teaches us about death, this does not go against free-will

    (Eph 2:2) in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience;

    (Eph 2:3) among whom we also had our way of life in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    --These verses show us how deeply we were dead, do depraved and sinnful we once were.

    (Eph 2:4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us

    (Eph 2:5) (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),

    (Eph 2:6) and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,

    (Eph 2:7) so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


    ---these verses teach us how great Gods love mercy and grace are. That because we were so far down, and he was so high up, no matter how hard we tried to reach him, we would never make him. Only he could cross the great divide and bring us up. This is the meaning of grace.

    (Eph 2:8) For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,

    (Eph 2:9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.

    ---here we are reminded that we couldn't do it, only God could. The works of man cannot save him, only God's grace could. But we must also note that grace alone did not do it, it was grace through faith.

    (Eph 2:10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

    ---when we recieve grace, we are made anew. We are created in Christ not for the old sinnful works we had proformed, but do good works. It was for ordained that Christians should do this.

    as for your, i don't quite get your last remarks on John 6:37. As I pointed out in an earlier post, your first remark about the sovereignty has no basis in this scripture. If you could prove me wrong I would gladly listen, but you seemed to ignore my points. your second remark doesn't even make sence. How is the second half of John 6:37 refering to the spiritualy dead? If I have read this part of your post wrong, let me know, I want to understand what you are trying to say.
     
  13. Dan Todd

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    Eph 1:4 - 6

    4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
    6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

    According to these verses - my salvation was settled long before I had a "free will!"

    Before there was time!
    I was forordained to be the adopted child of God!
     
  14. dttw_aic

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    Ephesians 1:3-14 is a praise to God in Paul's introduction to his Epistle to the church at Ephesus

    Verses 4-6 are an explaination of the blessings that God has given us as described in verse three

    You must remember that Paul is speaking to fellow christians. When he is says us it is a referance to christians, saints, the elect, and so on. This is made more clear in verse four by the phrase "in him", they are not just "us" they are "us in him" it is a reference to those in christ, which included paul(hence the us).

    verse 4 tells us he chose christians before the foundation of the earth, but to what end? what paul is saying in verse 4 is that God chose, before he even made the world, that Christians should holy and without blame.

    Verse 5 tells us that verse 4 would be accomplished by christians being adopted through Christ, and that this will be done because it pleases God, not man.

    Verse 6 tells us why God wants this to happen, that we may praise and worship him for all he has done for us.

    These verses do not say that your salvation was settled along time ago, it is saying that what happens as a result of salvation was determined along time ago, and that because of this we should praise God.
     
  15. dttw_aic

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    by the way, I would still like to know what you meant in your final remarks in your earlier post, I can't help but think I have been reading them wrong. I would appriciate a little explaination.
     
  16. npetreley

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    That's precisely what the Bible says, though. When you're spiritually dead (devoid of the Spirit of God), you can do absolutely nothing whatsoever to please God, and you can't even begin to understand the spiritual truth of the Gospel let alone believe it of your own free will.

    1 Cor2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Romans really makes a clear division - either you are a slave to your sinful nature, or you are not. And the difference is whether or not the Spirit of God lives in you.

    Romans 8:8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.

    That "if" really clinches it. It does not say "you, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature if you exercise your free will to do good or make good decisions at least some of the time".

    It does not say "you, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature if you respond to the gentle wooing of the Spirit of God and exercise your free will to make good decisions at least some of the time".

    It clearly says "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit of God lives in you."

    Now here's the point: Surely, if man could "decide of his own free will" to believe the Gospel, that would please God, wouldn't it? But if you cannot please God unless the Spirit of God lives in you, and you cannot have the Spirit of God within you unless you are saved, then how did you manage to believe of your own free will without pleasing God?

    That is why God has to give us a new spiritual birth before we can believe the Gospel. (And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;) Compound this with what Jesus says, quite clearly, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

    The expression translated "born again" is literally "born from above". What is being "born from above" other than being given new life from the Spirit of God? Where is our decision in this matter? Did you ask of your own free will to be born physically in this world?

    So let's review. How can someone come to Jesus?

    "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

    Does anyone resist the will of the Father when enabled?

    "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me..."

    It doesn't say "All that the Father gives Me will decide whether or not they will come to me." It says they will come to Me.

    And what is the blessed assurance of the elect?

    "...and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."
     
  17. dttw_aic

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    (1Corinthians 2:14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    ---When read in context it is clear that this verse is talking not about a person’s inability to understand the gospel, but is instead talking about the person’s inability to understand the deeper things that God has planned for the mature Christian. To fully understand this verse we must take a look at a much larger chunk of scripture.

    1Cor 2:1-3:4

    (1) And I, brothers, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, announcing to you the testimony of God.

    ---Paul did not come to the Corinthians preaching all the deep and thoughtful teaching of God.

    (2) For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

    ---The only things he taught them was the gospel of Christ.

    (3) And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

    ---He did this at a time when these people were weak and afraid

    (4) And my message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

    ---Paul's message was God's message and not the wisdom of man...

    (5) In order that your faith might not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    ---This was done so that their faith would not be in man's wisdom, but in God.

    (6) However, we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are being destroyed.

    ---This verse tells the Corinthians that there is a wisdom that is for the mature in Christ (the word translated perfect means mature). Here Paul is starting to set up a contrast between what he has taught them so far and what teachings await mature Christians.

    (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the wisdom having been hidden, which God foreordained before the ages for our glory,

    (8) Which none of the rulers of this age knew (for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory).

    --- This wisdom that is for the mature in Christ is a mystery to everyone else, which God had chosen from the beginning to give to Christians only. If the leaders of the time had known this deep understanding of God, they would not have killed Christ, but, since they were not Christians, they did not.

    (9) But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

    ---Even Isaiah wrote about this knowledge. As you can see from his writings, at his time this wisdom was not known by any men...

    (10) But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

    --- It wasn't until the Spirit of God (which didn't come until after the life death and resurrection of Christ) revealed it to us that any man had this wisdom.

    (11) For who knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
    (12) Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, in order that we might know the things granted to us by God;
    (13) which we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    (14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    (15) But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man.
    (16) For "Who has known the mind of the LORD, that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

    ---It was only through the spirit of God that we could gain this wisdom, those who do not have the Spirit of God (that would be the natural man of verse 14) cannot gain this wisdom.

    (1) And I, brothers, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.

    ---It was because of the fact that the Corinthians were still natural men that he could only teach them what he had

    (2) I gave you milk to drink, and not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, neither are you now yet able;

    ---He couldn't teach them the deeper things, because they could not digest it.

    (3) for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal, and walking according to human principles?
    (4) For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?

    ---Paul has gone through this lengthy explanation of the two levels of food because the Corinthians were still not ready for the solid food, and he wanted them to understand how important it is for them to give up their divisions in order that they may be ready for the solid food. (It kind of makes you wonder about those who say, "I am of Calvin," or, "I am of Arminias," doesn't it?)


    (Rom 8:8) And those that are in the flesh cannot please God.

    ---I cannot argue with this scripture. It is true that those who are still in flesh cannot please God, but this is not a claim that I make. It is a pleasure to God to have grace on those who have faith in him, but the faith itself does not please God. It is his own action that pleases him, not ours. The reason he takes pleasure in giving grace to us is because then we can do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Many will try to argue that, in this view, our faith caused God to have grace on us, but this is simply not true. I wrote as to why this is not true in an earlier post, and do to the fact that this post is already long enough, I ask you to look at that post for the explanation. If you have trouble finding it, let me know and I will repost it.

    As for the rest of your post, I will have to get to it tomarrow, it's getting late and I have to work tomarrow
     
  18. Dan Todd

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    John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
     
  19. dttw_aic

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    John 6:44-It is true that no man can come to the father exept the father draw him. As I wrote earlier, Man is so low, and God is so high it is impossible for man to cross the divide, only when God crosses the divide and carries us across to him, can we come to him. This is not the question at hand, the question is why does he cross the divide and get us? It is clear that it is because it is his pleasure, but why is it his pleasure to do this on some occasions, while on others it does not please him? If this was truely unconditional then there would be no reason for there to be a difference, but it is not. God takes pleasure in drawing those to him who atempt, yet fail, to come to him. It is a seeking heart that makes the difference.
    Does a seeking heart make God have grace on us? Absolutly not, he only has grace on us because he chose to. If he so chose to, he would not have grace on us. It is all up to him, not us.
     
  20. npetreley

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    If this is what makes the difference, then the saved man has the right to boast that it was his own free will decision to seek God that differentiates him from the unsaved man.

    If you counter with the argument, "God could choose not to save those who seek Him of their own free will", the argument is purely academic and meaningless. You're simply saying that God set up a system where man decides whether or not he will be saved, thus giving man the right to boast about His salvation.

    I don't think I need to point out all the scriptures that say man has no right to boast regarding his salvation.
     

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